GT2 cars racing in Europe next year will compete in a standalone championship instead of running alongside GT3 competitors in the Blancpain GT Sports Club.
SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel revealed the change of plans during a press conference held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday.
Announced at the Total 24 Hours of Spa two months ago, GT Sports Club Europe was initially planned to include both GT2 and GT3 cars, taking the latter from the current GT3-only Blancpain GT Sports Club.
The two classes will now run in separate championships on different dates, with the GT2 series’ start date moved back to summer.
GT2 Sports Club Europe competitors are now set to compete at Misano, Spa, Nürburgring, Paul Ricard and Imola between July and November, with a GT2-only test day at Spa kicking off proceedings on June 15.
The Spa race will form part of the support package to the 24H Spa and is set to include competitors from the GT2 Sports Club America series, something that James Sofronas told Sportscar365 he personally pushed for.
Sofronas is giving the Audi R8 LMS GT2 its race debut this weekend as the only GT2 entry in the Blancpain GT Sports Club race at Barcelona.
“My only recommendation, as I told Stephane, was can we squeak in a Spa weekend there at the end of July and he kind of rolled his eyes a bit but said ‘If your clients want to come and we can get the momentum to go, and we take that time slot that Porsche had last year, I’m all for it’,” explained Sofronas.
“I would very much try to get my clients to commit to that event if it fit within the schedule and the logistics were planned so it made it an easy trip and somewhat economical.”
GT3 Sports Club Europe will continue in the current format set by Blancpain GT Sports Club, a Bronze-only series featuring GT3 machinery. It will race at Monza, Paul Ricard, Spa, Magny-Cours and Barcelona between April and October.
No word was made on Saturday regarding the American and Asian GT2 Sports Club series, although at least the American championship is still expected to take place.
Ratel: No Porsche GT2s at Barcelona Because of Relative Pace to GT3
The reason that this weekend’s GT Sports Club race doesn’t include any Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsports is because of concerns regarding the car’s relative pace to the GT3 cars it would share the track with, according to Ratel.
Sportscar365 understands that some Porsches were planned to take part in what was initially touted as the first multi-manufacturer GT2 race event but that they were withdrawn shortly before the weekend.
It’s believed that the Porsches are a couple of seconds per lap slower than the Audis at the moment, although no Balance of Performance has been put in place for the new class yet.
“Barcelona is a downforce track so our estimation is [GT2 cars] should be a bit slower than GT3 here and a bit quicker than GT3s on circuits such as Monza, Paul Ricard, Spa and others,” Ratel explained.
“The only problem is we were expecting many Porsche GT2s; we had a good number of them at Spa and we thought they would come here.
“They all don’t want to race against GT3 because they think they’re faster. It is proving difficult to bring GT3 and GT2 together.
“If it’s difficult to mix, we’re not going to try and it’s better to have two different Sports Club formula, and we have enough events in Europe, so we will maintain the GT3 Sports Club.”
2020 GT2 Sports Club Europe Schedule
June 15 – Spa (test day)
July 4-5 – Misano
July 23-26 – Spa
Sept. 5-6 – Nürburgring
Oct. 3-4 – Paul Ricard
Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 – Imola
2020 GT3 Sports Club Europe Schedule
March 12-13 – Paul Ricard (test day)
April 18-19 – Monza
May 30-31 – Paul Ricard
July 18-19 – Spa
Sept. 12-13 – Magny-Cours
Oct. 10-11 – Barcelona